Oatmeal. If you grew up in a house like mine, your parents probably made you eat it—after all, in commercials, it looked like a fun (nutritious) meal. But, if you were like me, you hated it and tried to find ways to look like you ate it while actually eating as little as possible. However, oatmeal has evolved over the years. Not only did a plethora of flavored oatmeal packets come out, from peaches and cream to apple cinnamon, but more and more restaurants serve it, too, and make it look fun, not loathsome.
It turns out that oatmeal can not only be a healthy breakfast choice, but also a hearty one. Isn’t it the worst when you eat breakfast only to find yourself starving an hour or two later, and no vending machines or snacks in sight—so you’ll just have to wait till lunch? No matter if it’s rolled or steel-cut oats, you shouldn’t get hungry until lunchtime.
But, what makes oatmeal so special? Well, for starters, the fiber in it (beta-glucan, from the oats) helps reduce cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart disease and certain cancers (like colon)—as long as you keep oatmeal as a constant in your diet. Though steel-cut oaks have more fiber, any and all oatmeal is a win and better than not-as-healthy breakfast choices, like that buttery blueberry muffin from the coffee shop. Oatmeal also provides a lot of folate, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Of course, then you’ll have to choose which type you prefer—steel-cut, Irish, or rolled, to name a few (different based on how they are milled), versus the pre-flavored packets (which have more sugar)—and if you’ll eat it uncooked, boil a pot of old-fashioned oats on the stove, or choose one of the fun oatmeal-making options below.
1. Choose your oats (& make the non-instant kind)
This is good, old-fashioned oatmeal. It has a thicker consistency than instant packets and is more filling (especially when you add toppings, like fruit and nuts). You could put a pot on while you get ready for work, then just add toppings (like nuts, flaxseed, fruit, and honey) and voilà!
For a brief tutorial on the various kinds of oats out there, click here.
2. Decide on toppings
Just like ice cream sundae toppings, oatmeal toppings are endless and can ever be low calorie. The more creative, the better (and tastier) the final product will be, sweet or savory: brown sugar and honey vs. butter and salt.
3. Add chocolate
What isn’t better with chocolate on it? Exactly. Try this yummy recipe.
4. Make cereal or granola
Just like with toppings on cooked oats, there are endless granola options (not to mention that making your own cereal is fun). Here’s one of my favorite recipes.
5. Whip up some cookies
I know! Cookies for breakfast?! This recipe is sure to be a hit.
6. Bake a pie
This has got to be the healthiest pie you can eat for breakfast.
7. Make a cobbler
Yes, a cobbler, of sorts, for breakfast that won’t make you feel guilty about eating first thing in the morning. Get a tasty recipe.
8. Or how about some cinnamon rolls?
Yes, those “unhealthy” cinnamon rolls of yesteryear can now be resurrected—and healthy when you add oats!
9. Blend together an oatmeal smoothie
What more could you ask for? Drink up this yummy Martha Stewart recipe.
10. Create some oatmeal muffins or a bread loaf
Yes, skip the blueberry muffins from the coffee shop and make these, instead.
11. Oatmeal pancakes
These are a great way to trick kids into eating heart-smart pancakes. You can even use cookie cutters to make them into Mickey Mouse faces.